Estrangement: When letting go hurts

by Sheri McGregor, M.A.

Michelle, a mother of three whose two daughters are estranged, said that after four years, everyone else was moving on. “No one wanted to talk about the girls anymore,” she says. “No one seemed to miss them anymore,

Michelle still wanted to hold the good memories and to speak of her daughters as if they would one day return. The people around her had come to an ending point. For her own good, they wanted Michelle to accept the estrangement, too.

“But accepting their estrangement felt like saying good-bye to hope,” says Michelle.

Estrangement: Destinations unknown

estrangement between parents and adult childrenAs a mother who had given her all to her children, Michelle felt that letting go was like abandoning her daughters as well as everything she stood for.

Parents like Michelle may continue to reach out repeatedly despite harsh replies. Or, they cry for days afterward when the only answer is silence. Some may have stopped attempting contact and accept the reality of estrangement “for now.” Yet when faced with the idea that estrangement might be permanent, they fall into depression or describe themselves as “numb.”

“As long as I felt hope, there was a reason to go on,” says Michelle. “Without the belief that the estrangement would one day change, my life seemed to have no destination.”

Before estrangement, there were assumed expectations: marriages, births, and year-to-year traditions that bring families close and connect the generations to the past, the present, and the future. Estrangement disrupts the expected pattern.

estrangement between parents and adult childrenIt’s as if the future is an endless sea, with no shore in sight. Even when other children and family members remain close and loving, estrangement may loom in the present as well as in the past. Or even worse, on the horizon of possibility, placing a pall on relationships with other children.

Estrangement: Does the mourning end?

Maybe it’s you who is done with the sorrow and stress of estrangement, and you want your spouse or other relatives to move on, too. You’re tired of talking about your son or daughter, reliving the pain, the shock, or the disbelief. Or maybe you’re like Michelle, who feels a sort of second abandonment, because no one around her holds out hope.  Perhaps you have come to accept the estrangement but discover a secondary sort of grief in the process.

Wherever you fit, your feelings are not so unusual. It’s okay to feel hurt at the very idea of moving on without your son or daughter or even grandchildren in your life. It’s normal to wish it were different, or to feel a sense of guilt in getting on with your life. It’s not unusual to feel different than your spouse or other relatives do, or to recognize that accepting the reality of estrangement brings its own sorrow.  These types of emotions (and more) are ordinary stops on the estrangement journey.

estrangement between parents and adult childrenIf you’re parked in a place of withdrawal, guilt, shame, anger, sadness or feeling numb, get the support you need. For some, reading and doing the exercises in Done With The Crying has been enough. Others have found that meeting with a therapist provides a safe space to gain perspective. Or they utilize the peer community here, where members understand and empathize.

It’s wise to mourn the loss. It’s fine to mourn the abandonment you may feel when no one around you wants to keep the estrangement alive in the present, too. But you also must recognize that a season of mourning is just that: a season. We are not meant to be forever sad. Even in the uncertainty of estrangement, we have the right to be happy today.

None of this means we must forget our child, the love we once shared, or even give up hope that the love will be restored. But we cannot let estrangement debilitate us.

Tell me something good

In a recent Huffington Post article, I was one of several who spoke positively about talking to yourself. In my book, I tell parents to pay attention to the things they tell themselves. Mindfulness is discussed in the early pages, because being mindful brings awareness of what you think and the words you mutter to yourself and others. When it comes to healing from estrangement, those things matter.

Now more than ever, it’s important to take care of yourself. Falling into a habit of negative thinking and unhelpful self-talk never helps. Neither does catastrophizing or believing that you will “never” get over the pain.

You might as well tell yourself something that helps. Here are a few ideas:

“I was a good parent. One day they will realize that and return to me. So right now, I’m making the most of my life.”

“I can’t watch her right now, but God is.”

“Whether he comes back next week, years from now, or never, if I live well now, I won’t have wasted my life worrying.”

“I wish him well. I wish me well, too.”

“I may not like this, but I can learn to live despite it.”

“When he comes back, he’ll find me happy and strong.”

The truth about reconciling

estrangement between parents and adult childrenWhile we may imagine a happy reunion where everything falls right into place, often there are complications. If you’re in a long-term estrangement, accept the reality, even if it’s with a “for now” mentality. Then concentrate on your health and happiness. In so doing, you will be prepared when (or if) your child wants to reconcile at a future point (if you’re willing).

The truth is, your strength and well-being will be necessary to see any reconciliation through. Strength to help a daughter who desperately wants a relationship but who struggles with an issue you previously knew nothing about. Strength to stand firm and demand equanimity—even when a reconciled relationship feels like it’s going south again. Strength to admit mistakes, yet not forever pay penance or remain in guilt. Strength to forgive. Strength to move away from communication or family patterns that, in the space of estrangement, you may recognize as less than healthy.  Strength to remain true to yourself despite false accusations or baiting. And even the strength to say no, if the reconciliation will not work.

If you have reconciled, will you share your thoughts in my short survey?

Okay with estrangement

As counterintuitive as it may seem, being “okay” with the estrangement can help you prepare for a future reconciliation. You don’t have to give up hope. Just park it on a shelf for the time being. For some, that means keeping a memento in plain sight that allows you to wish your child well despite what’s happened. It could be something like the little wooden bird I wrote about putting out over the holidays. For others, it’s saying “enough” and no longer talking about the estrangement when you drive near a certain area or experience some other emotional trigger (as was written about here). Maybe you need to limit discussing the estrangement to a few minutes a day or relegate it to prayer.

If you’re like Michelle, and want to keep the good memories alive, consider writing them down. Slips of paper with specific memories you can pull from a jar and think about may help you feel connected not only to your memories but to what a good parent you have always been.

Of course, you will need to determine whether you’re at a point where reflecting in this way will be helpful rather than hurtful. For those new to estrangement, recalling happy times may be painful. You may want to consider the articles linked in this one and at the bottom for help that fits where you’re at in the estrangement journey.

estrangement between parents and adult childrenYour turn

What can you tell yourself that’s good? What would you say to Michelle?

Related Reading

Estrangement: What about hope?

Prodigal children: How many adult child return?

Estrangement: Are you an octopus mom?

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21 thoughts on “Estrangement: When letting go hurts

  1. nomoredoormat

    I see myself in this post, especially the part about talking to myself. I do talk to myself. Sometimes it is not helpful as I relive conversations and then tell myself what I should have said, or “that isn’t true” instead of the constant apologizing I did for how they feel. I also talk to myself telling myself I was a great parent, my children wanted for nothing, not emotional support, physical support (housing, bikes, clothes etc) nor financial support (paid for university, their clubs, their travels). I was a single parent and did without so they could have and I tell myself that out loud to convince myself that I was a great parent.
    My children acknowledge what I did for them, but have turned it around on me saying that they won’t feel guilty because I did without and even make me feel stupid for giving so much. I have never asked for guilt, not even appreciation. But I think my daughters have found it easier to live without me, than to feel whatever they are feeling.
    So I tell myself I did the best I could with what I knew. Saying it out loud, helps convince me.

    1. Shocked

      I agree. It’s also so much easier to blame others than take responsibility. My son is now blaming me, and projecting all his problems with me (‘you always have to be right’, ‘you’re hypercritical’, etc)…everything he and his wife are saying about me is exactly what they are guilty of. They don’t even see it. I am so disappointed in my son’s inability to stand up to his wife. I don’t understand why I am any kind of threat to them. I always tried to help them out with the kids, dogs, etc. and mind my own business. They should be grateful to have me around, but instead are focusing all their hostilities on me. It’s just almost too much. Hopefully one day I can let go of this constant sadness. It’s all just so unfair, as I’m sure everyone on here agrees. We did the best we could, and we probably did too much. Adversity builds character, and by doing too much for him and keeping him safe, etc, he’s learned to be an entitled, spoiled man married to a narcissist who controls his whole life. The saddest part about all of it is we have to watch it all happen, like a train wreck, and there isn’t anything we can do but help ourselves. Best wishes to you.

    2. Pamela B.

      This is heartbreaking in one breath and liberating in the other. I too am a single parent. My sons recognize the sacrifices and struggles made for the betterment of us as a whole. My daughter, from my first marriage, pretends to love her step brothers and I. She does not!

      If I were to be brutally honest with myself, I’d venture to guess she blames me for leaving that abusive marriage. She seems to resent the harmony between the boys and I. I say this because her actions never fail when she visits. We’re good for two days at the most and then the gloves come off very passive aggressive. It’s as if her goal is to deliver portions of the abuse I escaped.

      She was not abused. Just the opposite. Two parents smothering her with love and material things to gain her favor. Her father has always had it, no matter how bad he treated me. I always had to work for it.

      At the moment, I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired of her emotional games. The days of opening my home to the subsequent emotional abuse that is sure to follow must end, if not for me, than my sons. You’re right. Maybe it’s ok to look at it as if this is what she wants, then she shall have.

  2. Bestrong2day

    Hello, I am new to this group as of today. I thank God for it as, like many of you, I thought I was alone and this was a cruel joke that would correct itself soon. Its so embarrassing to tell your friends your kids don’t want you in their life as most families are so close. If other families do argue, they both have the respect and love for each other they can work it out. But you can’t work out anything if you are the only one that wants to try. If I am honest with myself, this estrangement has been building for over 10 yrs. They always seemed mad at me. I walked on egg shells all the time and kept out of their personal lives. I have 2 grown girls, 36 and 38, a set of 4 yr old twins with 1 girl and a 4yr old and 7yr old from the other girl of which do not want me in their lives. My world revolved around them and I would drop everything to come babysit when ever they wanted. Then, poof, no more calls, or communication of any type. What seems to be a common thread in these posts is no one knows what happened, including myself. How could this have happened? What did I do when I sacrificed as a single mother and gave them everything they wanted and still did after they were adults. Always there to help them move many, many times between the 2 of them. Set up their houses gave loans, it goes on and on. Both of them are accomplished women. 1 a police officer and the other works in a church. Saving lives both physically and spiritually. I always told them I was so proud of them. What did I do? I can’t get passed that question. Does anyone have any idea on maybe a common thread of what we each did to have this horrible sorrow brought upon us? I did read that this type of estrangement is rising, however what are the stats on if this happens to fathers as much as mothers? Did we say something wrong? are they embarrassed by us? What causes this lack of respect and empathy?

    1. Stormz8xInfinity

      Oh my! I so relate to everything you are saying! “Then, poof, no more calls, or communication of any type.” This is exactly what happened to us. My husband and I have been looking at each other in complete bewilderment and keep asking each other the same question: “What in the world did we do to cause this?” It makes no sense. Like you, we heaped love on them, we were always there for them, we helped them, and we never meddled in their life. I’m so sorry you are hurting. I wish I had answers that made sense. At least now we finally know we are not alone, crazy, or guilty of some gross evil!

  3. Stormz8xInfinity

    Hello To Everyone, this is my first post. I’m amazed at how similar everyone’s story is to ours! Honestly, I thought we were the only ones being alienated from our grandchild. This is all a real eye-opening experience finding this place. Like many others here, we have absolutely no idea why we are being rejected/cut out. We tried to do everything right from day one, lots of love and giving, much help when they needed us, no interference or inappropriate meddling with them. But alas, they made this mysterious decision to erase us, just us, but not the other set of grandparents. It’s been over two years, and at times I nearly suicided because the pain and rejection are so consuming and make no sense. It’s also very humiliating to be aware that people know my son and his wife rejected us and refuse to let us see our grandson. I worry about what is being said about us as to why they made such a drastic decision! Thanks for listening.

  4. Allie-Katz

    Hi everyone, I have a 46 year old son, who went no contact 10 years ago. He insists that I called him a pedophile, I didn’t. I have tried, in our limited contacts, once after my stroke, then again recently when he allowed me contact for a week (I think he was facing financial problems, but they were resolved, so he didn’t need me and quickly cut off contact again) ~ I have tried over and over to convince that I have never said such a thing, to no avail. I have even thought of taking a lie detector test to prove this, but at this point I think he would not even believe this. There are a lot of pop psychologists online these days talking about “toxic parents” narcissistic parents etc. I think this has given rise to this epidemic of shunning of those who may have inadvertently hurt them. My son was in AA when he went “no contact.” I had never heard that term, but found it on internet. The adult children commenting at these sites are filled with what I can only call hate. Some were absolutely chilling in their description of their future glee when their parent finally dies. My generation may have been the last to heed the admonition to “respect your elders.” Many of my elders were not really respectable in their lifestyles (alcoholics, etc) nevertheless, it was really about respecting the position of being your elder, and we did it because it was the right thing to do.
    I was a single mother like many of you, but I can’t pretend my son had an easy life. The problem in my case I think is that because I couldn’t give him a materially comfortable life, I spoiled him in other ways, I failed to discipline him, and now it’s obvious what happens~ a disrespectful, inconsiderate son, who delights in hurting me.

  5. Needothers

    Allie-Katz, (and all others kind reading )

    I have read your post, and I truly do not think that it was any of YOUR behaviors that caused what your son has done toward you. The parenting style you had, or not disciplining him enough (or any of us could wonder if we disciplined too much or too little or in the wrong way, or for the wrong instances, etc) OR, spoiling him, in some ways, which every good loving parent I have ever seen, does, to some extent or other,
    it just doesn’t seem to me, to predict or cause, whether or not, an adult becomes or continues to be, disrespectful or inconsiderate. Or self-focused or unkind. Neither does if they had more material things or they didn’t.
    I myself, do not understand what causes it.

    I don’t know why my own adult daughter is disrespectful , inconsiderate, and self-centered to great extremes of unkindness and hurtfulness and total rejection and abandonment, toward me, while I was the most loving kind supportive parent, that I knew how to be.

    I am sure I made mistakes, but not major, unforgivable ones. Yet, she needs total no contact from me? Definitely my shortcomings as a parent were not as serious errors as my own parents made, and I minimized contact with mine, for a few years, but then I voluntarily committed myself to having some relationship with them, despite that they didn’t apologize for any errors they made which had hurt me lifelong. But I didn’t want them to go without me totally, or me totally without them.

    I didn’t do ANY of the unkind, hurtful things to them, as my daughter has done to me. Instead, I put efforts into reconciling, with my own, and I showed them honest love and respect , and authentic appreciation for the things that they DID do for me.

    I also think you have expressed another important point there, and I thank you for writing about it,

    that online, there are LOTS of adults, now, calling their parents “toxic” people, or ” narcissistic” and joining with groups of people, to feel a sense of belonging with them, who also claim their parents were so abnormally terrible, that it seems to be a growing trend .
    I hadn’t thought of that. But when I saw an article recently, from an adult about their mother, I too, thought, my daughter could think or say those untrue things about me, when I was so loving and patient and supportive to her, always. It is nearly bizarre.

    I know it may be warranted in some cases, yet it looks like a lot of us are getting lumped in, with something we really are not. And truly self-serving, connivingly manipulative parents, are likely very, VERY rare. I didn’t meet ANY, in the years I worked with parents. Mistakes, yes. And often, readily admitted. We are human and sometimes in over our heads, no knowing what to do.
    But “toxic” and “narcissistic” , no, I never met one like that. Perhaps it is extremely uncommon.

    In past times, as you said, We used to be angry at our parents, sometimes, for sometimes valid reasons, and some due to temporary, passing teen ideas, or for limited reasons or totally invalid reasons, yet, as you say,
    most of us, did not severe ALL contact for years or forever, especially once we grew out of teenage years and had time to reflect and mature, and to see our parents as people, too.

    My parents made many serious errors, themselves, but I never thought to call them names like those. I realized with maturity that they’d had rough lives too, were human and made mistakes, and tht parenting decisions have no easy answers, and no one was taught how to do it perfectly,

    but most parents do try, And, many, many parents ARE as loving as they possibly know how to be.
    And do not deserve to be given those kind of labels, which seem to abound and be used very loosely and often, in recent times.
    Perhaps, that contributes to this apparent trend of so many adult children closing their parent out.

    Then again, there may be other reasons. Perhaps there have always been lots of adults who cut off their parents totally, and it wasn’t noticed till more recently, because they dared not tell others. (As I myself rarely do)
    Perhaps there are lots of selfish adult children, who want to be certain they will never need to give any caring or support of any kind to an aging or ill parent, so they cut them off, long before, in order to avoid that possibility.
    Perhaps that is more common, now that it is not expected for adults to care for their parents when they age, if at all possible, as it once was considered an obligation, or a moral responsibility, and even a valued and wanted choice, to do for someone who had once taken care of you, and loved you, thru all of your own difficult times.

    I don’t know.
    The true reasons they abandone us, allude me.
    Why my daughter and many others, would do this, I cannot comprehend.

    This is only my 2nd post, but I see that writing this, IS helpful for me.
    Perhaps there is a bigger picture, which I can only see by reading what others hear write, and by writing myself.

    Thanks so much, for providing this website for us.

    1. Joan

      Your writing resonated with me so much. I had a rough upbringing and my dad was hateful till he died to me, but I stayed in touch and if Mom said to call – I called. My daughter is so hateful and ungrateful – I am broken hearted and don’t have the strength to put up with it anymore. She and her Dad have been like this since she was 6, and that is a large part of why I left him. Still, at 33, he perpetuates this hate towards me. Surely the Lord will have to fix this or take over because I am out of energy, hope and tears.

  6. Stephen

    Letting go may hurt, but holding on can kill the soul. We all hate drama, but in my case the only real consistent drama I had, was when my ED came around. I held on or put up with it, because she was my daughter. We did not know or even understand what estrangement was. I just thought it was because she was becoming a new adult and was somewhat confused or scared how to handle it. Fast forward 12 years later and now she is almost 30, I realize it is not a short period of time, but eventually she will learn. Then I saw and started to realize she makes her life all about DRAMA. I then started seeing the majority of the estranged adult kids all have this in common. Do you think they will just carry this type of behavior on just “us”? No, they are usually living a life of drama and you do not need to choose to live with it or even have it in your life. Once they stop beating on us, they will turn to the next closest thing. For me, once I learned to let go of the person who decided to estrange me, which I never saw coming, was when my moments of sorrow and pain had left. Then I started to realize the drama is gone too. Now the question is, if she decides she made a HUGE mistake later on, do I let “it” back into my life? Why would I? I am now drama free and could that person who had the gull to do it in the 1st place, have another chance to do it again to me? No, because I will not allow it. I woke up and I am living MY LIFE now!

  7. Sunnyside2019

    I just joined this group so I don’t know if I’m posting in the correct place.

    I have three children – the middle child has cut off ties with me and I don’t even know why. I haven’t seen my grandchild from this daughter for 4 years. We did have a disagreement that started all of this, but nothing that would lead to this. She is a difficult person and always has been – always feeling that her two siblings got the most attention, etc. That’s just her personality – will never be pleased with anything. It’s so good to come here and read all the other posts to know you’re not alone. I know that I will get through this whether I ever hear from this child or not. Thanks for your shares.

  8. India

    I am so sad. It has been a little over a year since my 24 yr old decided to cut me out of her life. Some days, i am ok, but mostly i am crushed and in disbelief this has happened & there is seemingly no way to get past it

  9. Birdy

    Yes I’m new to this, in a place I never ever imagined I’d be, just like all of you good people. I think I’m still stuck in shock and hurt, with an angry verbally attacking email about six weeks ago that came out of nowhere. What did I do? Nothing to my knowledge, however I just copped a spiteful email going back over her whole life and me being the cause. This has happened since her father died over a year ago that I divorced over twenty years ago.She was never close to him. But now that he’s died, he’s suddenly a saint and I’m the bad guy.. Honestly I just feel like telling her to ‘grow up and stop acting out like she’s the victim!’ Even if she’s grieving that’s no excuse for her behaviour. She’s 44, has a good husband ( I think) and her life seemed to be going along well. She’s a very attractive woman, gets jobs easily but cant hold onto them for more than a few weeks. No employer seems to be good enough. Its the same with her friends in the past, I’ve seen best buddies being dumped for apparently no reason… Hmmmm… I’m feeling she has some issues SHE has to sort out and stop blaming me… Because do you know what? I’m not that person that she supposedly wrote about. I’m better than that. I always did THE BEST I COULD, WITH WHAT I HAD, WHERE I WAS. I have supposedly said things in the past she didnt agree with. Heh SHE’S said things I didnt agree with, but did I send her a spiteful email and try to devalue her? Absolutely not! We all might think things and have opinions about other people depending on how we perceive things, but that’s no excuse for total lack of respect!. No matter how much I try not to overthink things, how can one not? I’m trying to keep myself distracted, but
    I’m concerned I’m going to wear myself out mentally and physically. It hurts like hell, my baby girl who I had at 19 and did my very best all those years ago has turned away. In hindsight I mightn’t always have made the best decisions (I thought they were the right ones at the time), but she has forgotten about all the good things I’ve done. I don’t credit for anything I’ve done, it was unconditional love for my children. I have two other daughters who I already know she’s being trying to poison their minds too. I’m just hoping and praying that they are emotionally mature enough to make up their own minds. Its just so sad. But I’m going to keep saying to myself, as I read in another post “I did the best I could at that time”. I will not ‘allow’ her to devalue me, I will not give her permission to do that. I WILL move forward in my life with my new partner an not let the negativity of how I’m feeling to dampen our relationship. Life is too short and none of us know how much time we have left. So somehow I have to figure out how to live with this and accept it. I’ve got the book “done with the crying”. So do I just give it more time?

  10. Eileen

    This is happening to me also. I have not been allowed to see my 3 month old granddaughter and it breaks my heart. I am allowed once in awhile to FaceTime with my 3 year old grandson. This was recently canceled- yesterday. I can’t explain the hurt and inner shame. This started during the end of my marriage. She was present when her father threatened to choke me and she sided with her father. I calmly told her the next morning that know woman should be afraid. It has become progressively worse. I do t know her anymore and miss the daughter I once had.

  11. Teddy

    I think it’s one of the most painful heartbreaking losses when an adult child who you nurtured protected and loved does this to a decent good parent. These adults will make up excuses, may have suffered parental alienation from a slanderous ex spouse which could have started the negative feelings towards the other parent who raised them, or it could be they just don’t like you. The worst part is that they are being deceitful and cruel lacking compassion and understanding of what they are doing to us spiritually, psychologically and physically. You analyze, you try asking them for the truth, some of them are such cowards where they just stop calling or further distance themselves rather than giving an honest explanation, or may be they are so narcissistic or even emotionally depleted in feeling any kind of remorse or worry that they are hurting their parent and just rather not deal with it. I never did this to my own mother who was really never emotionally there not like I was. Never would I have stopped communication, and God forbid if I saw her sad or crying I would never want her to be left in such a state especially being older and alone. It’s hard to forgive someone that does this to you when you know you were a good parent, not perfect but aware and a reflective compassionate parent. So what do we do after we have confronted them, cried, begged and prayed. I am still trying to figure that one out…..

  12. Angela

    I wish I had the answer. My husband and I actually flew hundreds of miles to ring the door of my estranged son house to try to communicate , make amends for something we really don’t understand. We raised our son, put him through college and assisted during his difficult times with groceries etc His wife after knowing her more than 10 yrs just decided to cut us off. They don’t answer calls or texts and didn’t answer the door that day. We are devastated.

    1. JP

      I’m so sorry they wouldn’t even answer the door. How horrible. I have no doubt my son would do the same, and he lives 15 minutes away.

  13. Elizabeth

    I realized one Tuesday after Bible Study talking to my Pastor that I’m not the only one going through this. It will be 4 yrs January 15th, that my 41 yr old son has been estranged from his immediate family. He met and married his 2nd wife about 4 yrs ago as well & it has been this way every since. It’s just too many things that have happened to even mention. I think I’m the only one still hurting from it, it seems as though everyone else has just forgotten about him. They don’t talk about him, they keep telling me to stop worrying about him. I just haven’t gotten to the point where I can just let him go & pretend he never existed. Sometimes it’s too painful to explain. It’s one of those things that if you haven’t experienced it you just wouldn’t understand.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences. Through the Grace & Mercy of God we will make it through this!!!

  14. just-a-mom

    I have the same story as everyone else here. Both my adult kids estranged me at the same time. Completely cut me out. No contact what so ever. I’ve been trying to make sense of it. So many questions:
    Why did this happen? What did I do wrong? What should I have done differently? And most importantly, what do I do now and how is my future going to turn out? (Because I was counting on them being in my life and now that’s all changed.) What am I going to do, how am I going to handle it?
    So I’ve been reading. A lot. Looking for answers. I’ve read so many of your stories here, we are all in the same situation. I think what we want to hear is… it’s just a phase, they will grow up, realize their mistake, apologize, and we will be a happy family again. I haven’t read anything like that, just “it’s been ___ years since I’ve last heard from them… but I keep hoping…”
    Thanks to you guys and your stories I think I’ve figured a few things out.
    I focused too much on my kids. I helped, supported, cared… all the things a good parent is supposed to do, but they never had to face adversity and grow because I was too sympathetic and willing to step in and help them out. I should have stepped back and let them get hurt from time to time. (A very hard thing for a parent to do but necessary for learning.) It resulted in them being ungrateful and disrespectful. Easy for them to blame me for their misfortunes now.
    Another mistake I made was identifying myself based on them. If someone asked who I was I’d answer “I’m (my kids) parent.” Sure I had other things going on, I work, I have hobbies and other interests, but first and foremost I was their parent. My whole life revolved around them. I made my future plans including them. I thought we would continue to talk and have family get together’s like we always did. They were always fun, or at least I thought so. We were always joking and trying to get each other to laugh. But perhaps they didn’t enjoy it? Who knows what others are thinking, right? Anyway, now all that has changed and I’m feeling a bit pathetic. Like I don’t have a life. But I intend to change that. I refuse to be ‘needy’ and ‘pine’ for years.
    I’m moving forward. I’m making plans for my future that doesn’t include them (they don’t want to be included anyway). I’ll always remember the good times but I’m 100% positive there will be many more good times to come with other people in my future. I’m not afraid. I’m kind of excited.
    I don’t expect I’ll ever hear from them again, but if I do in ____ years, we will be complete strangers. I’ll be polite, hoping their lives are well (like you would do if you ran into an old high school class mate). If I never hear from them, that’s OK too. I know a lot of really good people and I will meet more from time to time. I won’t put my life on hold because of this. My journey continues.
    Once again, thank you to all of your stories for making me realize all this. I truly hope your future journeys are incredibly awesome. Don’t be afraid to move on. Leave this hurt behind. You will be OK. There is much joy in the future.

  15. Janet

    I enjoyed the stories very much and those sad to read like write my story. My daughter asked me for entire year to live with her and her husband because she didn’t want me to be alone and fall. So we always had a fiery relationship but we still could have fun. However, however I gave in and decided to move to Tennessee from Florida to be with her and enjoy her company. It’s only been two and a half months and she is asking me to get out I’m toxic I’m selfish I’m hurtful. She makes up stories I can’t even tell you that I had nothing to do with she says things to me and I never said them I am leaving and I will not make contact again. I will not keep contact with her anymore and these lies and stories that she throws in my face I did my best I was a single parent. She was sexually abused by her father at 3 and yet she never says anything about him. I don’t know if she can remember but I’m not taking her abuse. She will have to get help for herself because I cannot get through. I have no place to go I spent all my money to get here and she’s asking me to leave after 2 and 1/2 months. I would describe her and her husband as hateful people too. She has a terrible temper I don’t think she’ll miss me a bit. I love her with all my heart.

  16. happy

    I felt so alone, I see many others like me. I am so tired of their shit! I want to be happy and am deciding I am not letting these ungrateful kids make me miserable! I have 2 narcisstic adult children who drink too much and think they are better than anyone and are very distant. They are making their choices. I know I was a good Mom and they turned out like my ex-husband, self absorbed and so busy they don’t have time for anyone. This is one part of my life, I have other parts and plan on enjoying myself. It devastated at first, but enough is enough.

    Reading about your lives makes me empowered, I hate how they treat us but don’t want to be sad, Go and enjoy your life. I hear happiness is up to us so life is short, so lets enjoy.


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